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Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Avoid the Tired, Trite Terms: Encourage Original Thought, Focus on Priorities and Strategy

Words count. Put together, they reflect corporate culture. Used out of context, words become excuses, gibberish, rationales and basically wastes of energy.

When people hear certain words and expressions often enough, they parrot them. Rather than use critical thinking to communicate, many people often gravitate to the same old tired catch phrases.

I sat in a meeting of highly educated business executives. The presenter was dropping the term ‘brand’ into every other sentence. The word had lost its power and came across as a fill-in-the-blank substitution for a more appropriate though. Many people used to do the same thing with the word ‘technology,’ using it far from its reasonable definitions.

These clichés do not belong in business dialog, in strategic planning and in corporate strategy. These expressions are trite and reflect a copy-cat way of talking and thinking:

  • ‘Solutions’ is a tired 1990’s term, taken from technology hype. People who use it are vendors, selling what they have to solve your ‘problems,’ rather than diagnosing and providing what your company needs. It is a misnomer to think that a quick fix pawned off as a ‘solution’ will take care of a problem once and for all. Such a word does not belong in conversation and business strategy, let alone the name of the company.
  • The ‘brand’ is a marketing term. The strategy, culture and vision are many times greater and more important.
  • ‘So…’ In the 1960’s, TV sitcom writers began every scene with ‘So…’ After enough years of hearing it, people lapse that dialog into corporate conversations. It is intended to reduce the common denominator of the discussion to that of the questioner. It is monotonous, and there are more creative ways to engage others into conversation aside from minimizing the dialog.
  • ‘Value proposition’ is a sales term and is one-sided toward the person offering it. It implies that the other side must buy in without question.
  • ‘Right now’ is a vendor term for what they’re peddling, rather than what the marketplace really needs. Expect to render good business all the time.
  • ‘Customer care’ means that customer service is palmed off on some call center. “Customer experience” comes right out of marketing surveys, which rarely ask for real feedback or share the findings with company decision makers. That is so wrong, as customer service must be every business person’s responsibility. Service should not be something that is sold but which nurtures client relationships.

Many of these stock phrases represent ‘copywriting’ by people who don’t know about corporate vision. Their words overstate, get into the media and are accepted by audiences as fact. Companies put too much of their public persona in the hands of marketers and should examine more closely the partial images which they put into the cyberspace. Our culture hears and believes the hype, without looking beyond the obvious.

Here are some examples of the misleading and misrepresenting things one sees and hears in the Information Age. These terms are judgmental and should not be used in marketing, least of all in business strategy: Easy, Better, Best, For all your needs, Perfection, Number one, Good to go, Results, World class, Hearts and minds, Cool, The end of the day, Virtual, Right now, Not so much and Game changing.

Street talk, misleading slogans and terms taken out of context do not belong in the business vocabulary. Business planning requires insightful thinking and language which clearly delineates what the company mission is and how it will grow.

These are the characteristics of effective words, phrases and, thus, company philosophy:

  • Focus upon the customer.
  • Honor the employees.
  • Defines business as a process, not a quick fix.
  • Portray their company as a contributor, not a savior.
  • Clearly defines their niche.
  • Say things that inspire you to think.
  • Compatible with other communications.
  • Remain consistent with their products, services and track record.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Diversity is Important for Business

This year is the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I was on the committee that wrote that legislation.

Diversity is most important for business, the economy and quality of life. I have conducted many diversity audits of companies. I have seen corporate America embrace diversity in many practices, including the workforce and suppliers.

Several years ago, we realized that specialized positioning and communications are necessary for social harmony and a global economy. We are a diverse population, and the same ways of communicating do not have desired effects anymore.

Diversity is about so much more than human resources issues. It means making the most of the organization that we can. It means being anything that we want to be. Diversity is not about quotas and should never be perceived as imposed punishment. By taking stock and planning creatively, then we can and will embody diversity.

The premise of multicultural diversity is ambitious and necessary to achieve. It is a mindset that must permeate organizations from top-down as well as bottom-up. If not pursued in a sophisticated, sensitive way, good intentions will be wasted.

The following pointers are offered to companies who communicate with niche publics:

  • Seek and train multi-cultural professionals.
  • Contribute to education in minority schools… assuring that the pipeline of promising talent can rise to challenges of the workforce.
  • Design public relations programs that embrace multicultural constituencies, rather than secondarily appeal to them after the fact.
  • Interface with community based groups, sharing in activities and civic service… to learn how communications will be received.
  • Realize that minority groups are highly diverse. Not every Asian knows each other, nor speaks the same language. There are as many subtle differences in every ethnic group as the next. Thus, multicultural communicating is highly customized.
  • Realize that multi-cultural communications applies to all. Black professionals do not just participate in African American community events. Cultivate communicators toward cross-culturization.
  • As media does a good job of showcasing multicultural events, note it positively. If thanked enough, media will continue to shine the light on multicultural diversity.
  • Sophistication in the gauging of public opinion will result in a higher caliber of communicating. The demands of an ever-changing world require that continuous improvement be made. Attention paid to writing and graphics quality will enhance the value of multicultural communications.

The old theory was that society is a Melting Pot. That philosophy evolved to the Salad Bowl concept. In either, one element still sinks to the bottom. We must now see it as a Mosaic or Patchwork Quilt. Each element blends and supports others. Diversity is a continuing process where we keep the elements mixed.

People believe that they are now thinking differently and creatively about diversity issues. In truth, they are really rearranging their existing prejudices. To be diverse and united, societies must be sealed with common purposes.

We can be diversified and unified at the same time. We can remain culturally diversified. We still can and should work together as a society. We all hold cultural values. One set is not better than another.

Look at the issues and how they affect the total person. Actions are always required. Good intentions and political correctness are not enough.

It is short sighted to ignore changes in society. It is good business to recognize opportunities for practice development. In the Chinese culture, every crisis is first recognized as a danger signal and always as an opportunity for overcoming obstacles.

Every professional must embrace a set of ethics:

  • Things for which each professional holds himself/herself accountable.
  • Holds benchmarks for Continuous Quality Improvement.
  • Realistically attainable goals.
  • Contains mechanisms to teach and mentor others.
  • Continually re-examines and adds to the list.

There are many good reasons why diversity relates to your livelihood:

  • Embracing diversity is politically correct.
  • Society will make increasing demands that you address these issues.
  • It makes good business sense.
  • It opens your services to additional market niches.
  • It embodies the spirit of open communications, the basis of winning companies.
  • This process creates more job opportunities for multicultural professionals.
  • And it is the right thing to do.

Quotes About Diversity

What is food to one is to another bitter poison.”
Lucretius

Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.”
William Cowper, The Task

Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy.”
Mao Tse-tung (1956)

No pleasure lasts long unless there is variety to it.”
Pubililius Syrus

It were not best that we should all think alike. It is difference of opinion that makes horse races.”
Mark Twain

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices. Just recognize them.”
Edward R. Murrow (1955)

Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
Proverb

When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”
President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), honoring poet Robert Frost at Amherst College


About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Cut the Weeds: Focus on Priorities and Strategy, Avoid the Time Zappers

One of the by-products of being high-profile is that you get hangers-on. Most mean well and want to associate with someone successful. Some are groupies, and some are outright users. The art is to discern and marginalize the weeds from your path.

One mean-weller kept hounding me. He wanted to introduce me to people to form “strategic partnerships.” Turns out that they were people with their hands out, thinking that somebody (anybody) could magically open doors for them. I tried to set boundaries with that person. He would not respect perimeters.

One of his ‘strategic partners’ called me and conferenced in the introducer. This was not a scheduled conference call, and I felt blind-sighted. Neither one asked if this was a good time to talk or apologized for calling with no warning. In a rapid-fire sales delivery, he proceeded to talk, starting out selling stock in a venture, then shifting from one idea to the next. I patiently listened and tried to get away. This person had already called me weeks before but could not remember who I was or what I was all about. This was a ‘dial and smile’ sales call, and it was one-sided and self-focused, all about him.

The caller then announced that he had a time commitment and that I had one minute to state my case. I explained that they had called me and that I could not tell my ‘story’ in one minute. I said that if he did not remember talking to me before, then that was the problem. He challenged that it was my obligation to ‘make a difference,’ defined as me giving time and money to his pet causes. I suggested that they turn their attentions elsewhere. The caller then got hyper and talked all over me. I stated that I wasn’t interested in his projects and needed to end the call.

People who hound and use you in business are out for whatever they can get, from whomever they can get it. If you resist, they will go on to the next warm body. This is why I have a problem with networking: some are users and others are used by them, while others don’t know what they are doing.

One must be resolute in protecting their most valuable and limited commodities: time, knowledge and resources. Weeds are everywhere, crying ‘gimme.’ One can never cut all of the weeds down because they re-grow elsewhere. I’ve learned the hard way the value of prioritizing time and focusing on the people and projects that matter.

Questions to Ask About Weeds and Networking

  • Is the person making the request a true friend, a business associate or just an acquaintance? Who are they to you, and what would you like for them to be?
  • Will there be outcomes or paybacks for the other person? Will there be outcomes or paybacks for you? If there’s a discrepancy in these answers, how do you feel about it?
  • Are there networking situations which are beneficial for all parties? If so, analyze and align with those situations, rather than with the fruitless ones.
  • What types of ‘wild goose chases’ have you pursued in your networking career? Analyze them by category, to see patterns.
  • Is the person requesting something of you willing to offer something first?
  • Are the people truly communicating when they network? Or, are hidden agendas the reason for networking? Without communicating wants, it is tough to achieve outcomes.
  • How much time away from business can you take? How does it compare with the business you can or will generate?

Cut the weeds by seeing your time for networking and volunteering as a commodity. Budget it each year. Examine and benchmark the reasons and results. Set boundaries, and offer your time on an ‘a la carte’ basis. Associate with those who feel similarly. Show and demonstrate respect for each other’s time. Be careful not to pro-bono yourself to death.


About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Visioning Scope: Applying Vision Toward Your Organization’s Progress

Visioning is the process where good ideas become something more. It is a catalyst toward long-term evaluation, planning and implementation. It is a vantage point by which forward-thinking organizations ask: What will we look like in the future? What do we want to become? How will we evolve? Vision is a realistic picture of what is possible.

7 Steps Toward Strategic Vision

  1. Analyze the company’s environment, resources and capabilities. Determine where the Big Picture existed before, if it did at all. Crystallize the core business in terms of viabilities to move successfully forward to some discernible point.
  2. Clarify management values. Usually, management has not yet articulated their own individual values, let alone those of the organization. This process helps to define and develop value systems to create success.
  3. Develop a mission statement. It is the last thing that you write, not an end in itself. In reality, the Mission Statement is rewritten several times, as the planning process ensues. The last draft of the statement will be an executive summary of collective ideas and works of the Visioning team.
  4. Identify strategic objectives and goals. I ask clients to do so without using the words: ‘technology,’ ‘sales,’ and ‘solutions.’ Businesses fail to grow because they get stuck in buzz words and trite phrases that they hear from others. Technology is a tool, which feeds into tactics. Sales is a tactic, one of dozens of tactics which an organization must pursue. Tactics feed into objectives, which feed into goals, which feed into strategy, which feeds into Vision.
  5. Generate select strategic options. There are many ways to succeed, and your game plan should have at least five viable options. When the Visioning program matures and gets to its second generation, you’ll find that winning formulas stem from a hybrid of the original strategic options. Creative thinking moves the company into the future, not rehashes of the earliest ideas.
  6. Develop the vision statement. It will be action-oriented and speaks from the facts, as well as from the passion of company leaders. It will include a series of convictions why your organization will work smarter, be its best, stand for important things and be accountable.
  7. Measure and review the progress. By benchmarking activities and accomplishments against planned objectives, then the company has a barometer of its previous phase and an indicator of its next phase.

7 Biggest Visioning Challenges

  1. Settle the organization’s short-term problems. Otherwise, they will fester and grow. Many organizations fail because they deny the existence of problems, proceed to place blame elsewhere or hope against hope that things will miraculously get better. Unsolved problems turn into larger roadblocks to growth.
  2. Never let the vision lapse. Keep the vision grounded in reality through benchmarked measurements. Keep the communication open, and the people will keep the enthusiasm alive. Renew the vision every five years with a formal process, thus including newer employees, the latest in business strategies and, thus, the advantage over emerging competitors.
  3. Effective visions are lived in details, not in broad strokes. If the mission evolves from the process, then so do the goals and objectives reformulate by changing tactics. The smallest tactics and creative new ways of performing them tend to blossom into grand new visions.
  4. Be sure that all sectors of the organization participate. The Big Picture cannot be top-down, nor can the embracing of corporate culture be only from the bottom-up. The Visioning committee should represent all strata of the firm.
  5. Periodically, test and review the process. Understanding why the organization ticks, rather than just what it produces, makes the really big gains possible. Success is a track record of periodic reflections.
  6. Never stop planning for the next phase. The review and benchmarking phases of one process constitute the pre-work and research for the next. From careful study (not whims or gut instincts) stem true strategic planning.
  7. Change is inevitable and 90 percent positive. Individuals and organizations change at the rate of 71 percent per year. The secret is in benefiting from change, rather than becoming a victim of it.

Your company’s future relies on your people sharing this vision. Determine if your team understands your vision, if they can see the possibilities, if they know how they fit into the picture and if they are motivated toward action.


About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – The Fine Art of Failure: Benefiting from Mistakes to Assure Success

Success and failure… it’s a matter of perspectives. Out of every 10 transactions in our lives, five will be unqualified successes. One will be a failure. Two will depend upon the circumstances. If approached responsibly, they will become successful. If approached irresponsibly, they will turn into failures. Two will either be successful or will fail, based strictly upon the person’s attitude.

A 90 percent success rate for a person with a good attitude and responsible behavior is unbeatable. There is no such thing as perfection. Continuous quality improvement means that we benchmark accomplishments and set the next reach a little further.

Throughout our lives, we search for activities, people and meaning. We venture down roads where we find success. Other activities bring us failure… from which we learn even more what to do to achieve success the next time. We learn three times more from failure than from success. The longer that success takes to attain has a direct relationship to how long we will hold onto it.

7 Degrees of Failure… Plateaus in the Learning Curve

  1. Education-Growth – Didn’t know any better. Made some dumb mistakes, based upon incorrect assumptions, insufficient information or lack of sophistication to “see beyond the obvious.” Beginning to learn better approaches by analyzing the wrong ways of doing things.
  2. Evolution – Tried some things that worked and some that didn’t work. Beginning to understand that things do not fail without a reason or cause. Learns constructively from trial and error. Visualizing patterns of failure… as barriers to success.
  3. Experience Gathering – Circumstances within and outside your control caused the projects to fail. Learns which external factors to trust and which cannot be controlled. The importance of research, due-diligence and marketplace understanding surface.
  4. Grooming – The team let you down. Learns what you are capable of doing. Learns who to work with and in which capacities. Success-failure is a function of seizing-creating your own opportunities. No individual or organization can have success without experiencing and learning from failures.
  5. Seasoning – Understand outcomes before they transpire… and the myriad of failure-producing factors. Most people and organizations fail due to never having control over certain ingredients, improper planning and the inability to change.
  6. Meaningful Contributions – Attitude is everything, affecting the approach to problems. Develop attitudes, behaviors and skills as the motivator to create bigger successes.
  7. Body of Knowledge – Develop profound insights and life-long perspectives into the teachings of success and failure (learning three times more from failures than success).

7 Benefits of Success, Stemming from Failure

  1. Immediate Feedback – It is far better to succeed or fail. Not knowing where you’re going or how we’re doing causes us to make many more mistakes.
  2. Starting Over – Without being hampered by systems/processes that haven’t worked, you can create as you go. After you’ve done it, you feel richer for the experience.
  3. Learn What Not to Do Next Time – Gives you a clear frame of reference, assuming that you understand factors behind the failure, rather than blaming someone else.
  4. How the Pendulum Swings – One succeeds much more than one fails. By studying swings of the pendulum (likelihoods of failures), one better understands their progress.
  5. Failures Make the Best Case Studies – Case studies of success and failure form the basis for planning, improvement, training and other business practices.
  6. Lessons Learned But Not Soon Forgotten – One succeeds 5-9 times more often than one fails (depending upon the individual’s attitude, resources and insights).
  7. Qualities of Achievements – The more sophisticated the understanding of failures and their factors, the more successful in business and life one will be.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.